A malfunctioning water softener can cause a high water bill if the backwash valve is stuck open, leading to continuous water wastage. This can go unnoticed until the bill arrives. It's best to have a service professional fix the issue and set up a regular regeneration schedule. The frequency of regeneration depends on factors like water hardness, iron level, pH level, tank capacity, and household size. Check with the manufacturer's guide or a professional to determine the optimal regeneration schedule. An average softener uses 6-12 lbs of salt per regeneration and needs regular salt level checks. Regular maintenance can help appliances last longer and reduce soap usage.